Byler Different

Ken Byler

A pall has descended on North Texas. It was brought on by the murder of five policemen and the wounding of seven others.

Cities throughout the region are holding support rallies for the Dallas Police Department.

It appears the wholesale slaughter of Dallas police officers was wrought by a man incensed by events that took place far from Dallas and that Dallas policemen had nothing to do with.

Some twisted notion of revenge for the police shootings of black men in Baton Rouge and Minneapolis appears to be the cause of the slaughter.

It’s been said that those with axes to grind will run to their ideological corners and try to fit any tragic event into their pre-existing notions about race, police, guns and politics before all the evidence is in.

Meanwhile, it appears Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick seems to never miss a chance to make an ass of himself by whuppin’ out the Bible and finding a passage that proves God is against all but conservative Republicans.

It’s obvious that the constant flow of fraudulent and misinformation will aid some folks in their debasement of the truth. With a newspaper’s reliance on the printed word, it’s practically impossible to lie if there’s an editor dedicated to veracity on the staff.

But folks have been giving up their newspapers and relying on TV, Twitter, Facebook and unedited bloggers as the sources of all their news. FBI figures show that twice as many white men were shot by the police than black men in 2015. But folks wouldn’t know that if they’re only watching TV or reading blogs on their computers.

What bothers people the most is to see men shot by police as they’re walking away or on the ground. It’s awfully hard to swallow the idea that a policeman feared for his life if the man was on the ground or walking away.

Everyone’s in favor of justice for all. It’s the tiered system where justice falls unevenly on the populace that most folks despise.

Apparently a new elite class has emerged in America. Populating this elite class are business tycoons, cultural icons, media moguls, professors, civil rights activists and moneyed philanthropists.

These folks shape policy, wield power and are heard only because of their elite status. As for the middle class, the police are those who protect property, give directions and help little old ladies. It’s on the urban poor that justice falls the heaviest.

For the urban poor, the police are those sent by officials downtown to arrest folks for failure-to-appear warrants.

And the officials downtown don’t care that folks failed to appear because they didn’t have the money to pay the fine for whatever infraction they were cited for in the first place.

In almost any poor neighborhood there’s a feeling of apprehension when the police show up. If the police are asking about a specific person, it’s a good bet that no one in the neighborhood will have ever heard of that person.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is proud that he has tied child support payments to the ability of a kid’s daddy to register his car. It’s the opinion of many that this new law will hit the poor the hardest. It stands to reason that when you take away a man’s means of getting to work because he’s behind in payments, he’ll only get further behind.

Policemen always suffer diminished regard as a consequence of politicians passing bad laws. If folks don’t like the helmet or seat-belt laws they should remember the laws were passed by politicians, usually prodded by insurance companies – not by policemen.

Folks don’t call the city council chambers when an ordinance has been violated. They call the police department.

Dallas Police Chief David Brown is a man raised in the poorest quarters of the city he’s sworn to protect and serve. His eloquence in a plea for support has softened the hearts of many and assured his place amongst the roster of good and fair men.

Chief Brown has asked for folks to come together and support their police, and folks are responding in ways similar to the support of first responders in the World Trade Center attack.

Hopefully, this new coming together of support will last after all the good feelings have been wrung out of it. But I suspect it won’t. Americans will go back to pursuing separate agendas in the name of the afflicted, marginalized and maligned. 

When Americans go their separate ways instead of coming together, things never get better. They just get different.

Ken Byler is a longtime Allen resident and Star Local Media contributor

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